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November 2019

On ‘retaliatory strikes’ and ‘Israeli fear’

Denijal Jegić on
A photo from the Haaretz article 'Sunny With a Chance of Rockets: No Casualties but Plenty of Confused Tourists in Tel Aviv' with the caption: "The beachfront in Tel Aviv, November 12, 2019. Other than a few tourists, the area was relatively deserted — despite Tel Avivians getting an unexpected day off." (Photo: Daniel Bar-On/Haaretz)

Western media has rationalized the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza by focusing on on Israel’s fears. Denijal Jegic writes these “fears” are a reflection of the structure that underlies the relationship between the settler-colonial state and the indigenous population.

The Gaza exceptionalism: from Samson to killing Sawarka family

Yousef M. Aljamal on
Palestinian students look on the pictures of members of Sawarka family who were killed by an Israeli airstrike, at their school, in Deir al-Balah, central of Gaza Strip on November 16, 2019. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

Gaza has always been the exception throughout history. Starting from mighty Samson, to the Intifadas, Gaza was always there, regardless of the challenges, leaving its own mark on history and reminding everyone it in no way could be bypassed.

Zionism’s uneasy relationship with antisemitism

Alice Rothchild on
A folk dance troupe in Kibbutz Dalia, January 5, 1945. (Photo: National Photo Collection of Israel, Photography dept. GPO)

Alice Rothchild grew up with a deep love for Israel, the redemptive, out-of the-ashes, kibbutz-loving, feisty little country that could do no wrong. Yet she writes, “it is often said, if we don’t know our history, we are destined and doomed to repeat it.”

Right of return amendment doesn’t make it into California Democratic Party platform, but it’s finally being debated

Michael Arria on
(Photo: Twitter/JVP Action)

At the California Democratic Party’s fall convention on November 17, activists pushed a resolution that would have recognized the Palestinian right of return. Although the amendment ultimately failed to be voted into the platform, supporters point to the fact that no vote tally was actually taken and that the results could have been too close to call.

The glory that is Gaza

Harry Gunkel on
A picture taken on March 26, 2017 shows Gaza City. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

Opportunities to visit Gaza come rarely. Harry Gunkel writes, “A place so inaccessible and so compelling deserves our full attention and our best intentions, but as we learned in our recent visit, getting lost in the tedium of the permit process and then the rush to pack the time with meetings and briefings could have caused us to miss the glory that is Gaza.”

Trump’s reversal of US policy on settlements is widely condemned, including by Sanders and Warren

Philip Weiss on

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement this afternoon that the Trump administration no longer regards West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements as illegal under international law, thereby repudiating global opinion and 50 years of U.S. policy, was widely condemned, including by presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The AP laid the decision at the feet of Sheldon Adelson, Trump’s biggest donor.

Pro-Palestine activists keep showing up at Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s office to demand action….will she listen?

Michael Arria on

Zak Witus is a member of IfNotNow and a graduate student in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. He told Mondoweiss that the group decided to target Schakowsky because she’s “a great moral leader on so many human rights issues, both for her district and the Chicago Jewish community in particular.” He pointed out that Schakowsky opposed the Trump administration’s embassy move, condemned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to block Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and co-authored an op-ed with Omar about confronting the threat of white nationalism. “Not another penny of taxpayer money should fund another Israeli home demolition or bomb that wipes out an entire family in Gaza,” said Witus, “We think that Jan agrees, and so her committing to defunding the occupation should be a no brainer.”

One young Gazan, many nemeses

Anas Jnena on

Earlier this month Yehya Karaja, a homeless Palestinian living in Gaza City who set himself on fire in September near a crowded public park in an apparent protest over dire living conditions, died from his wounds. He was 26. 

U.S. must save Israel ‘morally’ so as to save the U.S. — liberal Zionists’ circular argument

Philip Weiss on

Dan Shapiro and Michael Koplow say the U.S. made a “moral commitment” to Israel as a democracy against countless threats 71 years ago and the U.S. has a strategic interest in preserving Israel as a democracy, or the morality of the relationship will be undermined. The possibility that we should distance ourselves from Israel because it’s persecuting Palestinians is simply off the table for these liberal Zionists. Though progressive Democrats increasingly feel that way.

‘Burn it all down’ — Netanyahu attacks rival’s possible coalition with Palestinians

Yossi Gurvitz on

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu attacked publicly the possibility of a minority government of his rival Blue-White that would be dependent on the Joint List of Palestinians parties, crying that Blue White leadership “has lost its mind, stop this madness.” He reportedly told followers “Burn it all down,” if such a government is formed,

‘NY Times’ report on killing of Gaza family is part damage control for Israel’s military

James North on

While the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the killing of an entire family in Gaza was a “mistake,” the New York Times allows the Israeli military to explain that “civilian casualties are unavoidable in Gaza’s teeming neighborhoods.” And, hammering home the propaganda point, the paper says Israel “takes numerous precautions to prevent unnecessary civilian casualties.”

Even Bernie can’t square the circle of ‘progressive Zionism’

Joseph Levine on

Bernie Sanders’s call for reciprocity for Palestinians and Israelis in understanding the others’ narrative actually erases the Palestinian experience of Zionism and imposes a Zionist frame on the history of the conflict, Joseph Levine writes. Sanders’s concern for the “just claims” of Israeli Jews turns the moral and historical facts of the case upside down and show the incompatibility of his democratic Socialism and his Zionism.

Sawarka relatives relate hellish destruction of family of 8 in what Israelis call a ‘mistake’

Ahmad Kabariti on

“What investigation could raise the dead?” Abdullah al-Sawarka, 45, asks, while standing distraught at the edge of a 50-foot-wide crater where his cousin’s tin shack stood. Israelis bombed the house in Gaza on Thursday killing eight family members. They now say it was a mistake but Gazans scoff at the idea that there will be any accountability for the crime. The file will be thrown in the trash, says an aunt of the children killed.

Gaza militants and Israelis exchange fire despite tenuous truce

Kate on
Scenes at Al-Shifa’ Hospital (Photo: Mohammed Zaanoun /

Palestinian militants fired two rockets deep into southern Israel from Gaza on Saturday, and the Israeli military responded with a number of air strikes on militant targets, shaking an already tenuous truce, Reuters reports. Sirens sounded in the middle of the night in Beersheba, the largest city in southern Israel, some 35 km (18 miles) from the Gaza border, warning of incoming fire.

Activists occupy Rep. Schakowsky office demanding human rights for Palestinian children

Michael Arria on
Activists occupy Re. Jan Schakowsky's office. (Photo: US Palestinian Community Network Twitter)

Members of Jewish Voice for Peace, American Friends Service Committee, and other constituents occupied the office of Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL 9th District) and called on her to support a congressional bill that promotes human rights for children in Palestine. The protesters read a list of 271 Palestinian children who have been arrested and detained by the Israeli military, as well as a list of the 8 children killed in Israel’s recent attack on Gaza.

Looking beyond ‘women and children’ in Gaza’s casualties

Nada Elia on
Relatives of Palestinian Mohammed Shurrab, who was killed by an Israeli airstrike, mourn during his funeral in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on November 14, 2019.

Nada Elia says that once again she is reading the statistics about casualties in Gaza and is deeply disturbed by the emphasis on the number of women and children. “This does not do the Palestinians any favor,” Elia writes, “as it inadvertently reinforces the racist Zionist narrative that treats every Palestinian man as a fighter, a militant, a terrorist.”